OCTOBER IS DISABILITY AWARENESS MONTH
Looking back on my blog last June, I wrote about my initial shoulder replacement surgery and the aftermath. For the remainder of 2018 I coventrated on my physical therapy and consequences of the surgery. I also announced my returning to writing my novel using the fingers of my right hand. I was not too keen on trying to write with oral methods even though friends told me I could do it. I could write email and journal entries, but i couldn’t seem to create my fiction orally. As I wrote in June, I completed some 42,000 words or the remaining chapters of my book with my right hand.
I return to my story because it is Disability Awareness Month. I hesitated to write this until now because there are so many folks out there who struggle with physical and mental disabilities. Some have been at it all of their lives. It almost felt like iI demeaned their point of view when i just have had to deal with this condition for three years.
But I have, and what I do know is that I can empathize more fully. I want to tell them how heroic they are. I want to say how angry I feel sometimes. This happened to me without any warning. i was supposed to come out of surgery with a sling and a fuller, happier life. What i came out of surgery with was a shoulder replacement, a nine inch scar housing a rod, seven screws and a plate that ripped my radial nerve leaving me with wrist drop. I couldn’t raise or use my arm and i certainly couldn’t use my hand. Angry, you bet.
Anger can be beneficial, don’t you think? It can get you into action. And that’s what i did. Got into action and had the third surgery. In February of this year, I had a tendon transfer to try to restore the use of my hand. Another eight months of occupational therapy and another wrist brace and I must tell you, i have greater use of my hand. more function, which makes the OT’s so happy to hear.
I still cannot write longhand. I type with my right hand and my left index finger which would drive the therapists crazy, but it works. i am writing more orally, dictating text and copy/pasting to whatever I care to. I didn’t even know i could copy/paste to so many places. I have pasted all over websites and business memos and every medium I can find, so ling as it gets the job done.
I said i was going to write about publishing and querying agents at then end of the June post, but I’m not. It’s Disability Awareness Month. I want to write about awareness, because what i notice now are the folks out there who need a helping hand. I am more aware now of the lady who can’t quite push the basket, the man who needs help to open the door, the person who obviously cannot read the paper he’s supposed to fill out. The every day people who need help and whom I can help, even when i just had use of one arm and hand. Now that I have partial use of that arm and hand, imagine what i can do. Let me never forget.
And to those folks who have lived with disability for a long time, for all their lives maybe, find a way to tell your story, to speak your story. You need to be heard more than anything.
I wasn’t going to talk about publishing, but let me tell you, when i started working with publishers, they didn’t want to hear that I write with one hand. They didn’t want to hear that I couldn’t write a long revision that day, that it might take three days. They just want the work done. That’s why we tell our story.
It helps me to write about it. And I’ve only been at this for three years – and i have my left index finger helping out. I’m going to continue my telling you about this. Life does go on, and as Maya Angelou said, “I rise.”
We surely do.